Unlocking Your Uniqueness with Ann Benjamin
Contributor
Written by
Mohana Rajakumar
March 2012
Contributor
Written by
Mohana Rajakumar
March 2012

Ann Benjamin//annbebnjamin.wordpress.com//@ABenjaminAuthor


What inspired you to write your first book?

Everyone has a unique path towards their first book and I’ve always written (my Mom has a picture of me, age 6, with my spiral notebook and a pencil sitting out on the steps of my childhood home writing my little heart out).  After I bounced from some sad attempts at screenplays in college, my shift to writing long form occurred after I discovered…fan fiction!  I know the genre sometimes gets a bad reputation (thanks a lot, Fifty Shades of Gray!), but I’ve personally connected with some amazing and talented writers over the years.  Although a non-traditional approach, after getting confident in a pre-defined ‘world,’ I transitioned to writing original fiction.  Furthermore, full confession, I still revisit certain fandoms to write stories for my favorite characters.  I’m not going to lie – writing non-original characters is sometimes a nice break from my manuscripts. 

 Do you have a specific writing style?

I’d like to think there are some specific hallmarks of an Ann Benjamin novel.  I try to instill some of my quirky sense of humor into various characters, I love a happy ending, and recently, I’ve really focused on having a diverse ensemble of characters.  Where I might diverge from a traditional author in the same genre, given that I’m an ex-pat of five years, there are usually international elements involved.

 

How did you come up with the title?

I plan on releasing Room 702 later this year, but debated the alternative title, Six Degrees of Brendan Sullivan, for awhile.  In the end, I decided Room 702 would be easier to fit on a cover, tweet, and remember!  The title refers to the room at the fictional Winchester hotel where the vast majority of the action takes place.  

 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I think everyone has a part that is their least favorite.  For me, it’s about not giving up during the editing process!  My favorite part of writing is the rough draft.  I truly enjoy creating something from nothing.  Watching my word count increase, seeing how the story comes together – all these part of the writing process I love.  However, once I’ve given the rough draft a chance to ‘rest’ and have to come back for revisions, it’s difficult to stay motivated and make the difficult cuts.  I currently have 100 pages to go until getting to the finished first draft of Room 702 and it’s been an uphill battle.  I know the work I put in is worth it, but I’d much rather wave some sort of magic wand over the manuscript and have the edits be complete.

 

 Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read.  I’m often surprised when meeting other writers who don’t actually read novels in their genre.  As a person who is usually involved with three books at a time, I can’t comprehend how other authors don’t enjoy the act of reading.  I think it’s important to know what else is out there, how others are telling stories and what is selling.

Stop making excuses.  Make a plan and go with it.  Whether you choose self publishing or traditional publishing, whether you want to write Middle Grade or Erotica – do what you want.  Quit blaming your schedule or any of the other distractions in your life.  Writing is part of YOU – so go for it!

 

 

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Comments
  • Ann Benjamin

    Thanks to all for the warm welcome to SheWrites!  Very glad to be a part of this forum.

  • Claire McAlpine

    Great advice, totally agree about the contribution reading makes, I rarely read before 9pm, but I never close the day without reading at least a few pages from a novel or book and always in seach of great sentences and word design, wonderfully enunciated by Jhumpa Lahiri recently in her essay  'My Life's Sentences'.

  • Gili Malinsky

    Yes! What an amazing last line! I'm going to quote you right now. On a social media platform.

  • Rachel Thompson

    Great interview and good advice about focus. I totally agree. I'm a one book at a time kinda girl, also. And writing comes first or it would never get done. I can't NOT write. That's how it should be. Well done!